Richard D. Steele was only 16 years old when he graduated from high school in Monroe, N.C. at same year, he enrolled at Trevecca. After graduation, he worked a few years in Charlotte, then joined the U.S. Air Force for a four-year stint. He married Katharine Murray while stationed in California. After he was discharged, they returned to North Carolina, and Richard attended a business school. In 1956, he took a position with Consolidated Engravers, a textile engraving company where he eventually became president, CEO and co-owner of the large and diversified company with plants in five locations to serve the industry.
Richard regarded his years at Trevecca as life-changing in many ways and realized that education was the key to success. He wanted to enable other students to experience what had meant so much to him as a young teen with little money and no outlook for good-paying jobs. He established the endowed scholarship before he retired in 1990 and continued to fund it.
Before his death in 2004, Richard expressed his wish for the scholarship to continue to be funded, and Katharine has been faithful in granting that wish. Here’s Katharine in her own words:
“Richard’s years at Trevecca changed his outlook on life. His teachers influenced his strong beliefs. His deep faith never wavered and gave him on-going strength to live by. This scholarship is important to me because of the cumulative effect of the funds, which is in part, a result of good investment management. A part of what Richard believed in lives on. Every year, I’m delighted to receive personal notes from the recipients of this endowed scholarship. This is very meaningful to me and de nitely would be to Richard. It is great to know that his vision and the establishment of a scholarship will benefit many deserving students for many years to come.”
Over the years, countless Trevecca students have benefitted from receiving the Richard D. Steele Scholarship. Pictured here are past and present recipients Sydney Wisman, senior media arts and communications studies major; Kevin Reed (’08), assistant director of Trevecca’s Office of Financial Aid; and Grason Godfrey (’16), a clinical research coordinator at Vanderbilt Medical Center. During the 2016-2017 academic year, 16 Trevecca students were recipients of the Steele scholarship.